ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 34-year-old St. Louis man sentenced to life in prison without parole in a teenager's 1993 dance hall death will go free after a legal compromise spurred by his innocence claims.
A St. Louis Circuit Court judge on Thursday reduced Anthony Williams' first-degree murder conviction to second-degree murder and ordered his immediate release on a 20-year sentence, with credit for time served.
The ruling came two weeks after a Cole County judge overturned Williams' conviction in the shooting death of 14-year-old Cortez Andrews, citing evidence that Williams' lawyers say they never received from prosecutors.
The previous court order required St. Louis prosecutors to either file new murder charges or release Williams by Thursday. The judge later vacated that ruling over a procedural dispute, but Thursday's hearing made those deliberations moot.